Validating Your Book

If you are a self-motivating author, then you have the responsibility to decide whether your book is both entertaining and marketable. In traditional publishing, your work will have to pass several tests. Most authors in self-publishing depend on the acceptance, or rejection of their book from the readers.

I used to own a board game company. Although I had over twenty games for children and adults, only a few were selected. The first step was to create a prototype for family and friends to play.

The second step was to have the staff members approve of the game. They must also consider the concept of the game and decide if it is marketable.

Next, the operations manager considered how we would develop and distribute the game. Then, the finance manager would decide the cost to produce and market the game.

The process when I first start scratching the game idea on a napkin, all the way to manufacturing and sales could take years. Sometimes, a game could make it all the way to the finance stage and then rejected because it was costly. Most other times, the game would be rejected before it reached the operations stage.

If it passed all those tests, we would set a meeting with a mid-size marketing agency and pitch the idea. If the game passed that test, we would meet with a larger marketing agency. Sometimes, we even showed the game to sales reps and asked for their opinions.

If rejected, we had two choices: Make adjustments or start over with a new game. Most of the time, it was the latter, even though we spent thousands of dollars to reach that point.

Most self-motivated authors would not put their books through the same test. There are several reasons:

  • The author spent time writing that book.
  • The author spent money on that book.
  • The author wants to earn a living from that book.
  • The author becomes attached to each book.

These are not reasons to publish your book. I have at least ten novels that will not see the light of day, because they went through a similar process as my board games.

You may think that a board game company does not compare to a book being published, but it is very similar. For example, the average manufacturing cost per game was $11.60. How much does it cost to print one of your books?

Most professionals in the publishing industry do not consider family and friends as experts on what makes a great book. I believe that family and friends are a terrific first step in validating your work. Especially if your family and friends know that you can take criticism. Ask them this question, “What didn’t you like about my book?” Or, “If you could change one thing, what would it be?”

Team up with another author. Give honest feedback on their books and receive honest feedback in return on your books.

Post thirty pages of samples on your web site and ask for feedback. Or, post your entire book. Most authors would not do this, but it is a great way to build a fan base. If three hundred people visit your web site and 90% enjoyed your book, imagine what three million people will think when you publish and market your book!

If the feedback is less than positive at any point of your validation process, find out why. Then, do it better the next time. After all, you are writing books for readers, not the other way around…

Ron Knight 

www.authorronknight.com  

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Ron Knight

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